I don't have kids, but I have some adorable twins in my life. My fiance's sister has four boys, including twins that just turned one, and they are the best. When we go visit, they keep us entertained for hours, and watching them crawl up a storm, learn to walk, and just generally interact with the rest of the family is too sweet for words. I can't wait to watch them grow up.
But I know that having twins can definitely be a unique experience; it's not all fun and games all the time. Sure, one baby is absolutely adorable and so, of course, two babies are extra adorable, but there's a lot more to the whole thing than just two cute kids that look alike. There are certain things that only parents who have twins can really understand. Sure, if someone only has one child, they can relate to parents of twins because there are definitely some aspects of parenting that are the same for everyone (late nights, sleepless nights, potty training, etc). But there are a lot of things about raising twins that is super different in comparison to raising a single child.
The following 20 struggles are ones that only parents of twins will understand.
20 You Feel Exhausted
As someone posted on Quora, having twins can be "exhausting." They wrote, "Exhilarating and deeply exhausting — yes you can fall asleep in the middle of the living room floor :-)" Even people who don't have twins (or any children at all) would probably agree that it sounds tiring.
It definitely seems like if having one baby is exhausting, then having two babies would be even more so. It's two of everything, right? Two babies, two bedtimes, two feedings... Thankfully, twins are so adorable and lovable, that it really seems to make everything worth it (along with the overwhelming love that you have for your children, of course, that's absolutely there, too).
19 It Can Take A Toll On Your Marriage
Even the best marriages go through a bit of a transition when a couple decides to have a baby. That seems to be true when a couple has twins as well.
As a mom and wife posted on Reddit, going through some marriage problems can be one struggle that parents of twins experience. She said, "My husband and I have two 5-month- old twin boys. We stayed close and happy at first, but as the months went on, I am definitely feeling like the overall playfulness and satisfaction of our relationship is decreasing. Sometimes, it feels like we are distant and irked roommates. Sometimes it feels openly angry and I feel resentful. Sometimes it feels like my marriage is more stressful than the chaos of twins."
18 People Always Ask If The Babies Are Twins (Stating The Obvious)
Have you ever walked by a mom and a stroller with two adorable babies inside of it and asked, "OMG they're so cute, are they twins?" You might have thought that you were just being friendly and polite (and you were), but for parents of twins, it's a bit of an annoying question.
That's only because they honestly hear this all the time. As a wife and mother shared on Quora, "We grew tired of people asking, 'Are they twins?' My husband started saying, 'No, I’ve got two wives.' He carried them both around in baby carriers strapped to his chest. I like to think it gave him some idea of how it feels to be pregnant."
17 You Can Struggle To Tell Your Identical Twins Apart At First
If you're wondering how parents tell identical twins apart, the truth is that sometimes, it can be tough. You would think that you would just magically know since they're your children, but it can be more difficult than that.
According to this husband and father's post on Reddit, parents of twins can definitely confuse their babies for one another: "I have identical twin daughters. My wife and I mixed them up at one of their first doctor appointments after undressing them. Luckily we had their footprints in the baby bag and used those to determine who was who. It was extremely embarrassing. We never mixed them up again."
16 You Might Wonder If It's Harder Because You Have Twins
Having a newborn is a beautiful and exciting time, but it's also challenging. It seems like having twins is extra challenging, and a dad who shared his story of having twins on Reddit confirms that.
He said that you can wonder if it's harder because you had twins: "The worst part of all of this is both of us are resenting twins. It's this nagging feeling of despair that won't go away. Even the occasional good moment is clouded by fear and anticipation of all H—l breaking loose. We feel guilty for the feelings but they are there." He added that his mom told her mom, "It's much worse because there are two" and she was "offended" by the insensitive comment.
15 It's Tough Until They Can Play Together
When you have twins or even just hear that someone that you know is having twins, there's definitely one thing that comes to mind: the two of them will be friends, won't they?
It seems like the babies have a built-in best friend and they can play together all the time. But, of course, they're babies, so they can't play right away.
As one dad shared on Reddit, it's tough to have twins until they can play together, and then that helps a lot: "father of 19-month-old twins. They play with each other now so it's actually easier. They keep each other occupied."
14 It's Tricky To Decide The Best Time For Paternity Leave
Maternity leave is more common than paternity leave, but a lot of dads do want to take some time off work when they're starting a family, and that seems to be even more important and significant if they are having twins.
One dad asked when the best time to take paternity leave is on Reddit. He could take 26 weeks off and he asked, "Can anyone share any experience with when I might plan to start this? Is it best to start as soon as they're born, even though we won't be taking them home? How much time do parents stay in the hospital every day with them? Or should I go back to work straight away in order to get some extra time at the far end of the leave?" Luckily he had a wide variety of responses.
13 Having Two Sick Babies Can Be Difficult
It definitely seems like when your baby gets sick for the first time, it's heartbreaking. Every other time after that is equally upsetting, but the first time can be the hardest. You just don't want them to suffer — even though you know that colds and the flu are inevitable.
As one parent shared on Reddit, it's definitely hard when your twins are both sick: "Can confirm, at least until they were old enough to play with each other. Also, it was pretty tough when they were sick as well. The best part was when they were teenagers, they liked to sleep in and I got caught up on all my rest lol!"
12 Being A Parent Of Twins Can Be Pretty Intense
Generally speaking, being a parent of twins is pretty intense. Whether you have two boys, two girls, or one boy and one girl, that seems to be the general experience.
A dad who posted on Reddit put it perfectly and it seems like his statement is super relatable: "Father of twin 2-year-olds. I like to call it 'EXTREME PARENTING.'"
Every parent of twins would most likely feel that way because based on all of the stories that have been shared online, having twins is rewarding and beautiful, but it's not always easy. A lot of the time, it can be very tricky and tough.
11 Both Babies Can Yell When It's Time For Them To Go To Sleep
A screaming baby at bedtime is still cute because babies are just always cute, and yet it's not exactly what parents are aiming for. Parents of twins can attest to the fact that both babies can scream (a lot) when it's time to go to bed.
One story from Reddit sheds light on this: "Our twins, almost 11 months boy/girl, go down for naps fine. Usually. But they go berserk at bedtime and scream from 15 minutes to an hour. We feed them food around 6:30 and change, bottles, bed no later than 7:30. We've tried earlier and later bedtimes to no avail. They have a white noise maker and sleep in individual cribs in our room."
10 If The Twins Are Acting Like Total Opposites, It Can Be A Struggle
Based on the experience of this dad who has twins who shared his story on Reddit, your babies can be on totally opposite schedules, and that can really be tough to deal with.
He said, "During the day these boys get wildly out of sync. If one is sleeping, the other is wide awake and either demanding cuddles or hungry. This gets in the way of mom being able to take care of her basic needs and requires me to assist. I'm glad to assist but I need to be working, Mom knows this, too. When I help during the day it feels like it's eroding her sense of worth."
9 It Can Be Heartbreaking If One Has More Friends Or Is More 'Popular'
If any of us didn't have the greatest time in high school, it can be hard to watch our children go through the same things. Some kids are more popular than others and that just seems to be the way it goes, but what if one twin is popular and one isn't?
A parent of twins shared on Reddit, "I have twin 13-year-old boys who are starting high school. They are fraternal twins and have always been best friends. One of them is way more popular than his brother but they never let that ruin their relationship... I don't know what to do. Tom knows Jack is more popular than him. Should I make Jack help Tom become more social by including him?" It seems like this would happen to a lot of twins.
8 Potty Training: Enough Said
Potty training poses a challenge for any parent. It's interesting to think that we all are so used to using the bathroom, but back when we were toddlers, well, it was a whole different story.
A mom posted on Reddit that she was potty training her three-year-old boy/girl twins and it was tough: "I tried the Oh Crap method about a year ago, it was a total nightmare. My husband pretended to help but was just basically on his phone the whole time. I ended up with pee all over my carpet and two toddlers who were not down for it. I gave up. I tried again about a year later, doing it solo, Oh Crap again. It didn't work." It's a good reminder that this can take a few tries.
7 Parents Aren't Sure About The Best School Decision
Should you put your twins in the same grade/class? You might assume that, yes, that's the best decision, but what if separating them is the better choice?
This is one dilemma that parents of twins deal with. As a parent of "artificial twins" who are super close in age (just three months difference) posted on Reddit, "Kindergarten registration is approaching and I am having trouble deciding what to do with my younger two kids... My son's birthday is in May and my daughter's birthday is in August. Both are four turning five. The cutoff date is December first. Both will be eligible for kindergarten next year."
It doesn't seem like there's an easy answer here. It seems like it would be the same as many other parenting decisions: you have to do what feels right for you and your family.
6 Sleep Training Twin Newborns Is A Lot To Handle
The whole sleep thing seems to be a challenge for new parents. It's tough for them to find time to get some shut-eye in and it's hard to get the babies to sleep, especially on a schedule. Plus, sleep training newborn twins? That seems to be especially tough.
A parent of six-week-old twins posted on Reddit and said, "Our twin boy/girl are eating more but sleeping less. Is this pretty common? We thought that as time moved on the sleep times would gradually extend when we increased how much they ate but they are waking up an hour to an hour and a half after feeding acting like they have never eaten before... It's not too bad during the day and we manage but it is frustrating at night."
5 There's An Awkward In-Between Stage With Twins
Toddlers can walk around and play by themselves, and babies, of course, cannot. For parents of twins, there seems to be an in-between time when the babies aren't really old enough to play by themselves yet, and they need to be kept entertained.
One parent shared their story on Reddit and said, "As far as toys and playtime go, we are at a loss. We sit there on the ground attempting to play with them, but they really just want to knock stuff together and/or chew on it. Books don't hold their attention yet..." They continued, "They seem bored and frustrated with us and we are (somewhat) bored with them, at the moment at least."
4 Deciding Who Gets What Name Is A Struggle
Before your babies are born, there's one thing on your mind (and it's definitely a question that you get asked all the time): what are you going to name them?
One soon-to-be parent posted on Reddit and asked what the decision-making process was like and wanted some advice. They added, "Also, I guess this only applies to cases where there was more than one of the same gender. So don't tell me it was obvious that your daughter wasn't going to be the one named Greg :)." Parents of twins wonder what name goes to which kid, especially if they have twins of the same gender.
3 Sometimes The Babies Don't 'Develop' At The Same Time
A baby's first crawl, first smile, first few steps... These are all milestones that are so thrilling for a parent to experience. What if you have twins and one develops at a different rate than the other one? Of course, this does happen.
This happened to this husband and father on Reddit who has boy/girl twins almost three years old: "My kids have developed at VERY different rates. You can have conversations with my daughter like she's a little person – with my son there's some speech going on, he has a working vocabulary, but it's at a very, very different level." He continued, "Can someone hold my hand or tell me a story about how their own kids developed at very different rates, and it's nothing to be worried about?"
2 It's Important To See Them As Their Own People
Sure, some parents who have twins like to dress them the same, especially if they have twin boys or girls. It seems like it would be tempting since it's just so cute (and it's very photogenic and people just love to see this). But even if you dress them the same, you know that they're not the same. They are two totally separate individuals and that's something that you have to remember when you're raising twins. There are multiple articles out there about "raising twins as individuals," and that seems to be something that every parent of twins should consider thinking about.
1 It's Hard To Relate To Moms Of One Baby
Being a parent of twins is different from being a parent of one baby. That was the case for this stay-at-home mother of 13-month-old twins who talked about joining a mom group on the forum What To Expect. All the other moms, however, had just one baby, no twins.
She said, "I’ve been finding it really difficult to relate to these women, especially when they complain about how hard it is to take care of one baby. I understand every baby is different and they all have their own set of challenges, but I find some of their comments a little irritating. I find it difficult to relate since I’m constantly running around with my twins, whereas they are just focused on one baby."